Saturday, June 22, 2013

What-What?! Week of June 23rd

This week was pretty good; we’ve had friends over a few times this week, and the weather has just been brilliant.  Oh, I’m also nearly out of things to sell on eBay, so this next week I need to scrounge up some more items to photograph and post.

Funnily enough, now that I’ve talked about Sears still having valuable brands, they’ve just agreed to sell at least 60 of the 91 OSH stores to Lowe’s.  It seems that most analysts and investors view this as a great move for Lowe’s, as it will help them expand into the California market, where competition is fierce with Home Depot.  In order for this to happen, though, the company is being required to file for bankruptcy, on account of its $302 million in short-term debt; it is estimated that, of the $201 million that Lowe’s is offering, nearly $50 million will go to paying off accounts payable.  The stores are to remain a completely separate brand, and depending on the amount of debt wiped out through bankruptcy, the company could end up with more freedom to innovate and take risks.  I think the deal both validates the worth of the OSH brand, and gives the company the opportunity to grow and develop more in the future.

One thing that I want to point out, though, is that Sear’s isn’t losing here; by selling the company off to a larger rival, Sears is no longer responsible for a company that has debt equal to 46 percent of its revenue.  This is also probably a great deal for shareholders, as Lowe’s has been experiencing growth recently.  This deal makes me think of venture capitalist funding; one of the goals for venture capitalists is to have their start-up company bought by a larger one, thus instantly getting a return on their investment.

Cooking:  Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Making granola bars is actually a lot of fun; like the pirate code, there aren’t so much recipes as guidelines.  When I went to make these, I couldn’t actually find my book with the recipe, so I went by memory.  Either way, they came out tasty, if a bit crumbly, because I used leftover bits of Kashi’s version of Frosted Mini Wheats.  The mini wheats bits gave it a finer crumb than it would have if it were made with more oats, so I think this recipe would be okay otherwise.
  • 2 to 2-1/4  cups dry mix (I recommend 1 cup rolled or instant oats, and another cup mix of chocolate chips, shredded coconut, nuts, or leftover bits of cereal)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (can be left out)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (could probably be subbed for brown sugar or other syrups, like agave)
  • 1/2 stick butter

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.  Mix dry goods together in a mixing bowl – if using chocolate, leave it out until after the mix has cooled some if you want chocolate bits, or mix the chocolate in now if you want a more uniform chocolate flavor (or if you’re lazy, like me).  In a separate saucepan or pot, mix peanut butter, maple syrup and butter on medium heat until well blended.  Either add syrup to the mixing bowl, or add the dry goods to the saucepan, whichever is large enough to fit everything in together.  Mix well, try hard not to eat it with a spoon, then spread on cookie sheet.  Allow to cool, then cut into bars.

On Thursday, ThredUp, which acts as an online consignment store, announced that they will no longer accept clothes with an MSRP of less than $12.99; this includes clothes from Target, the Gap, Old Navy, and probably The Children’s Place and Gymboree as well.  They announced this change because they’d been receiving complaints about the “cheap” brands, and had also been losing money on those brands, because they can only be sold for around $4.  ThredUp expects to implement a new minimum price of $6.49, a full $2.50 increase – though the brands will all be boutique brands.  However, I personally have never bought an item costing more than $4-5 from ThredUp, and I’m not interested in spending more than that, even for boutique brands.  I’m very interested to see if this new strategy works for ThredUp, or if it backfires because they’re redlined too many of their core customers.
'Til next week!
(imgs from,,

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